Archive | June 2013

Then Comes Baby in a Baby Carriage

Children Produce AdultsPeter DeVries once said, “The value of marriage is not that adults produce children, but that children produce adults.”

I think both processes are important, but have nonetheless found his point to be true. Having children does tend to mature us faster and better than we might expect to mature without them.

When my husband and I first married, the prevailing wisdom of the time was that a couple should wait five or six years before starting a family. They should get on their feet, perhaps buy a house, and certainly take time to get to know one another before bringing a baby into the picture.

Life didn’t work out that way for us.

God overruled any half-hearted attempts we considered making to prevent pregnancy (which were essentially none at all), and I conceived just two short weeks into our honeymoon.

Thus began our true metamorphoses into adults.

My husband and I were both firstborn, and we both had the stubborn, selfish, self-centered personality so often associated with that birth order. Thankfully, children have a way of working such things out of a parent. Of knocking off the rough edges. Of teaching us to put another ahead of ourselves. (The fact that we still struggle with selfishness at all — even after twelve children — is an indication of just how bad the problem was to begin with).

We have found that having children, having a lot of them, and having them early has been good for our mindset. It has caused us to look at the world differently, giving us a heightened awareness of danger and a fierce desire to protect our little ones from any and every threat, be it physical, spiritual or philosophical in nature. It has shifted our focus away from self.


From the moment I first found out I was expecting, motherhood has compelled me to consider carefully the foods I eat, the hours I sleep, the words I speak, the books I read, and the company I keep. It has forced me to think through where to store cleaning supplies, sharp objects, fragile heirlooms, and photo albums. It’s helped me remember to take my vitamins. It has kept me on my knees in prayer.

I-never-knewHaving babies has been good for my marriage, as well as my mindset. Not only has being a parent changed the way I look at the world, but it has changed the way I look at my husband.

I never knew how much I love him, until I saw how much he loves them.

As newlyweds, we were told that we should get to know one another before having a baby. In reality, having a baby allowed us to get to know each other in a way that wouldn’t have been possible without the baby.

Watching my husband kiss and cuddle and coo over our firstborn simply melted my heart. (He has done this with every one of our babies, to the same effect).

Hearing him spontaneously break into song — usually some silly rhyme or nonsensical verse he composes on the spot, such as “Oh, my smokin’ goodness, this little baby is a toodness” — has never failed to bring a smile to my face or to theirs.

I’ve enjoyed watching him teach our children to tie their laces and scramble eggs and ride a bike and swing a bat and start a lawnmower and drive a car.

I’ve admired his clear instruction, his boundless energy, his patience, and his sense of humor.

I’ve watched my husband keep vigil over a sick child, have marked the concern in his eyes, have heard him pray earnestly on their behalf. When at 23 months, our first son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, he spent a week at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, and Doug never left his side.

My husband works tirelessly, gives lavishly, and loves wholeheartedly. He walks in integrity (Prov. 20:7), and his wife and children are blessed because of it. He chooses to do the right thing and to do it faithfully, even when his motives are misunderstood and his sacrifices unappreciated.

Watching the way Doug parents, seeing the tender care with which he leads our family, has filled my heart to overflowing with a deep, abiding love and appreciation for the magnificent man I married.

And so, on Father’s Day (and the day after, and the day after), I want to honor the father of my children and to thank him for his willingness to be a father twelve times over (or more, should God so bless).

Thank you, Doug Flanders. I love you dearly. It’s been great growing up together.

A Hero in the Making

When my husband and I first married, we had more time than money, so much of our gift-giving consisted of poems and short stories we wrote for one another.

I guess old habits die hard, because we still fall back on handwritten gifts from time to time. Since Father’s Day is just around the corner, I thought I’d publish another poem I wrote in bygone days to honor my sweet husband, and all godly fathers like him:

“A righteous man, who walks in his integrity — how blessed are his sons after him.” (Proverbs 20:7)

A Hero in the Making | a Father's Day poem from Loving Life at Home

A Hero in the Making

Our little one is watching–
Can’t you see it in his eyes?
How he brightens at the sight of you
With happy, wild surprise?
Yes, our little one is watching,
He sees everything you do,
And he’s mimicking your actions
Trying hard to be like you.

Our little one is listening–
He hears every word you say,
Perks up whene’er he hears your voice,
No matter time of day.
Yes, our little one is listening.
And your words, they sink in deep.
They encourage, they inspire him,
And they echo in his sleep.

Our little one is following,
And he shadows every move,
Watching close for your reaction–
How he hopes that you’ll approve!
Yes, our little one is following–
And I thank the Lord above
For your wise and good example,
Your devotion and your love.

Our little one’s believing–
You’re a hero in his eyes,
And he knows that he can trust you
Like he knows the sun will rise.
Yes, our little one’s believing–
God protect his tender heart,
For he’ll view his Heav’nly Father
As he’s seen you from the start.

– Jennifer Flanders